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5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

Like the majority of the world, I have a smartphone. It keeps me updated on the weather, notifies me of important emails, and even allows me to keep track of important meetings on the go. I use it as my alarm clock every morning, and it has become an extra accessory I could never leave home without.

For some people, the smartphone (and other small devices) is how news is relayed between regions. Even farmers check the price of a bushel of hay through smart devices. It is not only used for personal reasons, like tracking our kids’ whereabouts, but also for never missing an important phone call about a big work project.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, having this kind of technology at our fingertips has enabled us to be everywhere, practically do anything with the swipe of a screen, and learn anything by asking a mysterious woman called Siri. The satellite function of Google Maps both astounds and creeps me out with its accuracy. There is no such thing as “I couldn’t find you” anymore. No one would believe you.

Everything is tracked, and if it isn’t monitored in some way already with an app of some kind, chances are, one is in the works.

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As much as the phone has enhanced our lives, it has also become a deterrent for living the way we once did. It has allowed the impersonal world of the web cater to our laziness and our love of convenience. As we rush out the door every morning, our first thought is never, “Did I feed the dog?” It’s, “Where’s my phone?”

Even the younger generations are becoming “vidiots” as we constantly push something electronic their way in the hopes of pacifying them while we wait at a restaurant or sit through church.

I am no different from the rest of you, but I have found great freedom in leaving my phone at home recently.

Going against convention and turning off my phone is also something I almost crave and am searching for a valid reason to do so.

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Don’t get me wrong…I understand the need for a smart phone. The benefits of having one clearly outweigh the reasons for why we shouldn’t have one.

Nevertheless, here are 5 simple reasons for why leaving your smart phone at home is the smarter idea:

1. Less distractions.

Let’s face it, if your phone isn’t vibrating or ringing from constant notifications, you’ll be able to focus better on the task at hand. No matter how many friends you have on Facebook, you are bound to miss something in someone’s life no matter how up-to-date you try to be. If you have thousands of Twitter and Instagram Followers, catching up on what’s going on in their lives will keep you from being engaged in your own life. With work-life balance being a rarity these days, we may actually be able to leave a little bit of work at the office for even just a short while by staying away from our phones.

2. Peace and quiet.

It may sound silly, but not having to listen to someone talk into their Bluetooth headset or headphones can be refreshing. The quietness we encounter will allow us to hear the birds sing and to hear the wind whip lightly through the trees as the seasons begin to change. As we take time to return to the good old ways of reading (with a book instead of a Kindle), we can feel the pages slip through our fingers, and hear the lapping of the waves as they crash onto the shore. We can recharge without feeling like we’re being pulled in so many directions.

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3. Connect with people.

It sounds far-fetched, but since the birth of texting and SnapChatting, our lack of in-person interaction has caused human conversation and interaction to become very impersonal. Before smartphones, it was important to know and remember the phone numbers of the people we needed to call most. My guess is that most of us can’t remember the phone numbers of the top 3 people in our contacts. Even sporting events, children’s concerts, and a night out with a loved one has turned into events that are experienced in silence as each person stays glued to their work email and/or texts. Remember, the memories you create with people will always beat any Vine video.

4. Heightened senses.

People take some remarkable pictures of the incredible food they encounter when eating out for others to see, but will accumulating a large online following help you in savoring the crispness of the garden salad, the texture of the spinach and hard boiled egg rolling around in your mouth, swirling with the dressing that has just the right amount of spice and tanginess? Will your followers help you take in the colorful layers of greens and reds of the Grand Canyon and its walls that are now visible because of the Colorado River flowing below? Hearing the laughter of babies, watching a vow of love, or even feeling the comfort shared through the touching of hands cannot be described or experienced the same way if you are not present in the moment.

5. Remain a mystery.

Here’s the thing…no one really wants to know why you needed to take your dog to the vet, and you don’t need to “check in” every time you go out to buy a bag of Cheetos or a liter of soda. Sometimes, it is fun to show others that you’ve been somewhere different and unexpected, but for the most part, we can’t know everything, about everyone, all the time. It’s okay to “tag” your family and friends every once in a while, but no one wants to see or hear about you every second of the day. We all have lives too, you know. Keep a few secrets hidden from the rest of the world. You may meet your best friend for coffee every week at the same time, at the same place, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know that… This way, it’s more special. And it will stay special – even if it is just coffee.

In conclusion…

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Technology will only continue to improve, and our senses will continue to be overloaded with the never-ending stimulation found in our pocket and purse, or sitting on our desk. Because we never want to fall too far behind, this constant need to be “in the know” has created more stress in an already busy life. Our lack of sleep has turned a good night’s rest into a low-quality nap, as the ever-present abyss of Pinterest becomes an unwitting time-suck. Suddenly, it’s 3:33 am, and we’ve created 2 new boards and pinned 17 more recipes that we will never try before we finally black-out from exhaustion.

Next time when you’re outside enjoying the brisk coolness found in the soon-to-be-autumn air, cuddling with your loved one near the fire pit, listening to the crackle of the wood, feeling the warmth in each flicker of flame, and watching the orange glow slowly burn its way through the path of the least resistance, realize that you are hearing a long-forgotten, but familiar sound… It is life.

Featured photo credit: Bino Storyteller via hd.unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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